Controversial article of Kurdish bill amended upon AKP’s proposal
With debates on the bill at Parliament still ongoing, it is not clear whether the July 9 amendment will be satisfactory for the main opposition party. DHA PhotoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to amend a controversial article of its latest Kurdish reform bill, which has been widely criticized as it could be exploited for illegitimate or illegal activities operated or coordinated by public servants.
Article 4 of the bill, which gives the government’s peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) a legal framework, had led to concerns as it grants broad and vague immunity to officials involved in negotiations with the PKK.
An amendment introduced by the AKP on July 9 during parliamentary debates on the bill aims to clarify that this immunity is limited to assignments defined in the bill.
In the original version, immunity was granted to those “who fulfill assignments within the scope of the law.”
While lending support to the bill in advance after it was adopted by Parliament’s Internal Affairs Commission on July 4, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also noted its particular objection to Article 4.
“Although the content does not offer anything new, except Article 4, we will lend support to the bill,” CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu told the Hürriyet Daily News on July 7, a day before the bill went to the floor on July 8.
Tanrıkulu argued that the article could lay the ground for assassinations akin to the killings of three Kurdish women who were members of groups affiliated with the PKK in Paris last year.
“Common sense obliges the government to make an amendment in the job description if they really want conciliation with the opposition. Otherwise, it will mean saying ‘yes’ to extrajudicial killings. This may even lay the ground for killings such as the Paris assassinations. It will even mean legitimizing saying, ‘That person is blocking the resolution, get rid of him,’” he added.
With debates on the bill at Parliament still ongoing, it is not clear whether the July 9 amendment will be satisfactory for the main opposition party.